How To Convert My SG Bass Into A Precision Bass

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by ScottTunes, Jul 6, 2017.

  1. ScottTunes

    ScottTunes Gear-A-Holic

    Feb 7, 2011
    So Cal
    I'm already laughing at the expected responses! Such as, "sell the SG, buy the P."

    I loathe admitting age related limitations! Just doing so makes them more real, and more difficult to "fight." However, the reality is diminished capacity in the fingers, elbows and so on... As much as I like and enjoy them, it is more difficult to stretch enough to play the Fenders anymore, and alternatives are required.

    Having said that, I do like Rickenbacker's smaller necks - and have had a few (wish I'd kept them all!). That seems to be just a 3/4" difference in scale length! But felt more comfortable to play (waiting on refin/restoration of my v63).

    The SG has a much shorter scale, but has a wide fingerboard, which negates some of the short scale reach advantage. And, the tone I'm looking for is less of the Mud-Bucker and more of the T-Bird punch. The T-Bird p'up is closer to the P bass than most of the Gibson predecessors, and although the p'ups in my SG bass are supposed to be T-birds, the mini humbucker isn't a TB, and I don't like it's sound very much. And the rather large looking pickup shell in the neck position, supposedly housing a T-Bird, doesn't sound much like a T-Bird p'up. I would like a more T-Bird or P sound from this bass. Hence, my quandary:

    How To Convert My SG Bass Into A Precision Bass.

    I'd settle for a good T-Bird sound to tho.
    ICM likes this.
  2. neo 7

    neo 7 The bass player doesn't get a sandwich

    Aug 22, 2011
    Erie, PA
    Fender Mustang

    Sorry if that's not the answer you're looking for.
  3. nbsipics

    nbsipics Ours' is the only Reality of Consequence Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 8, 2016
    So P stands for Pray?
  4. bolophonic


    Dec 10, 2009
    Durham, NC
    Pics, or you are playing a clarinet.
  5. mrufino1

    mrufino1 Supporting Member

    Aug 2, 2005
    Nutley, NJ
    Put a precision or tbird pickup in it.

    I just built a 25" scale bass from a Strat type body and neck with a fender fidelitron pickup and it sounds very much like a p bass
  6. What the mind can conceive the mind can achieve.

    I say go for it.

    It's not whether it can be done. It's just 'how'.
  7. Check out Squier Jaguar bass. It's a 30" PJ, dead easy to play.
    SunnBass, SteveCS and red_rhino like this.
  8. aaronious


    May 23, 2011
    Denver CO
    I've done it. I used a single coil p in the mudbucker position. Shielded it with paint and voila! Instant short scale P.
  9. ScottTunes

    ScottTunes Gear-A-Holic

    Feb 7, 2011
    So Cal
    I'm told the neck p'up IS a T-Bird pickup!! It just doesn't sound like one.
  10. Probably because it's not in the Tbird position. Tbirds have their pickups in what appears to be about where a Jazz would have them.
    BassmanMetzger56 and RaggaDruida like this.
  11. What if you did a 34" to 30" ratio and figured out that sweet spot of the P pickup for that bass, routed it, and installed a really nice P pickup of your choosing and a selector switch. Throw a Fender pickup cover on there and you're golden.
  12. 40Hz

    40Hz Supporting Member

    You are not ever going to get a TBird sound out of a bass with a short-scale neck.
    RaggaDruida and red_rhino like this.
  13. PotsdamBass8

    PotsdamBass8 Supporting Member

    Jan 23, 2005
    Long Island, NY
    Just to repeat some important points you've made...

    -You don't particularly like the neck width of the SG

    -It supposedly has the pickups of the bass you would like it to sound like, yet it still does not have that sound

    To me, I see no reason to try to mod this bass (even if it's just pickup chasing).

    There are short scale basses with P pickups, I would try one of those. The only one I've played was a squier jaguar that I ordered for my school. The neck was nice and thin and it felt and sounded good. Coming from 34" scale basses, it felt like I was setting the difficulty level to easy. It played itself.
    Duder and red_rhino like this.
  14. ScottTunes

    ScottTunes Gear-A-Holic

    Feb 7, 2011
    So Cal
    I bought the SG bass for 2 reasons: LOVE the looks! And, it has a very nice neck, in spite of it being a bit wider than I'd like (I play Hofners quite a bit too).

    I'm thinking there must be a way to improve the sounds this bass can make!

    At this point, 2 outta 3 ain't bad - 1. Looks, 2. Feel, 3. Sound)!
    Tbone76 and ICM like this.
  15. ScottTunes

    ScottTunes Gear-A-Holic

    Feb 7, 2011
    So Cal
    Already looking at them too! At one point, about 10 years ago, I had 11 Mustangs! All but one was vintage, and 1 CIJ. ALL of them sounded quite good! And, ultimately, I received offers I couldn't refuse for all but the CIJ. And, the only reason (besides the cash) I sold any was lack of live gigs, and abundance of studio gigs. In the studio, the 'Stang was considered a toy, not a serious tool.

    All of which doesn't help solve the SG riddle...

    But thanks for the alternative suggestion!
    Monster Truck likes this.
  16. Gizmot


    Mar 22, 2009
    Nashville area
    No offense - but it simply ain't gonna happen. You might be able to get a workable sound if you had a 1/3 octave EQ and did some major tweaking, but you can't make it sound identical. The Gibson has too much low end and very muddy upper bass and mids - but you know that.
  17. NoiseNinja

    NoiseNinja Experimental-psychedelic-ambient-noise-drone

    Feb 23, 2011
    My guess is you would have to remove the neck pickup and carve a cavity closer to the position where you would usually place a P pickup (a bit off center towards the bridge side of the space between neck and bridge) and then drop a P pickup in there that has the tone you desire.

    I personally can warmly recommend the EMG Geezer Butler P pickup.

    Not sure where the exact position of the P pickup should be on a 30" scale bass, other than roughly where I stated earlier, but I guess you could use a P or P/J short scale for reference measurements.

    On my Mikro at least the poles on both side of the pickup are placed right under overtone spots, the bright end closer towards the neck, the deep end closer to the bridge.

    Anyway, good luck with getting your SG to sound like you want it to.

    Rock on :bassist:
    Last edited: Jul 7, 2017
    Wisebass likes this.
  18. The real problem here is the pickup placement. EB/SG's use the ancient method of essentially one p/u at the end of the neck (that big humbucker) and the second smaller p/u at the bridge. So you have a combination of neck (a woofy, fat sound) and the bridge (twangy, right at the end of the playable length), and regardless of what pickups you use, that positioning is just going to sound different than more modern placements.

    Several people make replacement pickups that would obviously be better than OEM, and that might help a little, but it's hard to overcome physics.

    It's hard to guesstimate someone's attachment to a given axe, but this is really a hill to climb before you take the first step. If you've just GOT to make something out of this bass, my advice would be to find a first-rate guitar tech, work on some Gibson-looking black pickguard like you'd see in the style of the SG guitars that would cover the original routs and allow you to install a pair of T-Bird pickups where they'll do the most good. Then you'll have spent a LOT of money on a custom project you'll never recoup, a no-no for me.

    I'd trade it on something medium or short-scale that is already far closer to what you want. Anything already routed for P or J pickups would allow you many, many choices to get where you want to go.
    ICM likes this.
  19. Bust out the router and buy a precision pickup
  20. Primary

    Primary TB Assistant

    Here are some related products that TB members are talking about. Clicking on a product will take you to TB’s partner, Primary, where you can find links to TB discussions about these products.

    Jun 19, 2021

Share This Page